What's The Proper Way To Wash My Bra? How Frequently

Let’s face it—women have a lot going on, to say the least. Between work, family, and other commitments, laundry is just another item on our never-ending “to do” list. And chances are, when we finally get to the laundry, on a good day we wash lights and darks separately (including lingerie), throw it all in the dryer, fold it, and move on to the next item on our list.  

What's The Proper Way To Wash My Bra? How Frequently

But by tossing bras and underwear in with the regular laundry, you’re actually shortening the life of your delicates. Sure, it’s more convenient to do all your laundry together, but you’ll save both time and money in the long run by giving those undergarments a little extra TLC.

Let’s take a look at the best way to care for your bras, including how often they should be washed.

Wash before wearing?

Any brand-new item of clothing tends to have an uncomfortable roughness to it, so it’s a good idea to wash it before you wear it. Bras are no exception. Besides the rough “newness” of the fabric, countless others handled that bra before you bought it. Washing a new bra first is good from both sanitary and comfort perspectives.

How often should you wash your bras?

A few factors determine how often you should wash your bras—namely, your lifestyle, body chemistry, and how many bras you have in rotation. Washing is a delicate balance—throw them in the machine too often and the elastic dries out; don’t wash them enough and they become stained or full of bacteria.

Lifestyle certainly dictates how frequently you wash your bras. If you are active and enjoy activities like running or other intense workouts, it’s best to wash them after each wear. If you’re less active, you can probably launder your bras every two weeks. If you’re somewhere in the middle, this is a task you can do weekly. And consider your body chemistry. If you perspire excessively, this can take a toll on your undergarments. Be sure to have plenty of bras in your rotation because you probably wash them frequently.   

For the record, the American Cleaning Institute recommends washing bras after two or three wears; give your bra a day of rest between wears so the elastic can regain its shape.

What kind of detergent is best for washing bras?

There’s a reason dish detergent is for dishes, laundry detergent is for laundry, and so on. Each type of detergent contains different ingredients for that specific purpose. 

For instance, dish detergent’s chemical makeup is meant to dissolve grease and other tough substances, so it’s best to use it for washing dishes instead of washing clothes. Undergarments are especially sensitive, and harsh detergents can damage the garment’s delicate fabric.

Hand-washing your bras with detergent just for delicates, or with a mild detergent, is the ideal way to get them clean. Soak them in lukewarm water for about 20 minutes to give them a thorough cleaning without damaging the fabric.

But if you’re pressed for time (and let’s face it—most of us are), you can wash your bras in the machine, again using a mild detergent or one just for delicates. Set your machine on the “delicate” or “gentle” cycle and let it do its work.

What kind of detergent is best for washing bras?

Benefits of lingerie bags

As an extra precaution for laundering your delicates, buy a lingerie bag. It will help your bras maintain their shape, the straps won’t stretch out, and the hooks won’t get caught on other items. Simply fasten your bras on the first closure, throw your items in the bag, and wash your delicates as you normally would.

Mesh laundry bags that zip work great—choose one with a tighter weave so bra hooks won’t get caught on the larger holes.  Mesh is best because it still allows the soap and water to flow in and out and clean the items, and the zipper ensures nothing will fall out (avoid drawstring bags, as they can get caught on your machine during the wash cycles and cause a host of problems).

Proper drying methods

Tossing your lingerie in the dryer is certainly a time-saver, but it can do considerable damage to your delicates. The intense heat can dry out the elastic, weaken the straps, and generally cause bras to lose their shape. 

Just as we said hand-washing delicates is the best method for cleaning, good old-fashioned air and time are the best methods for drying. Machine washing and drying simply damage lingerie too much.

If you’re washing by hand, gently wring out the garment so you remove as much water as possible without compromising the garment’s shape. Lay each item flat on a towel or drape them on a drying rack. Avoid hanging them by the straps, as this can stretch the straps out.

Why proper care is so important

Most women just view undergarments as a closet staple and don’t want to spend much money on them. Other women view beautiful lingerie as an occasional indulgence. And others only buy top-quality lingerie, even for everyday wear. 

Whatever category you fall into, it’s important to give your delicates some special attention on laundry day. 

Why proper care is so important

Your everyday undergarments, likely made from cotton or blended fabric, can withstand the harsh conditions that come with machine washing and drying, but even the most durable fabrics wear out; elastic can stretch, dry out, or unravel after repeated trips through the washer or dryer. 

Lingerie made from high-quality fabrics will need special care right from the start, so hand-washing and air drying all of your delicates is a good habit to develop.

We get it—life is busy for all of us, and laundry is never going away. But by giving your delicates some extra time and attention with proper care techniques, you extend the life of each garment and keep those special underthings beautiful for a long time. You certainly deserve some special items in your wardrobe!